Imperial Guard Troop Tactics

In this section we will look at the troop choices available to the Imperial Guard army and Imperial Guard Troop

Infantry Platoon

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard SquadThe hart of the Imperial Guard army is the Infantry Platoon. The platoon system means that you can deploy a lot of troops and infantry heavy weapons (points permitting). It is very rare that you need to deploy more than two platoons.

Platoon Command Squad

Warhammer 40k imperial Guard Company Cammand Squad

A Warhammer Cadian Company Command Squad

An Infantry Platoon needs one command squad. Command squads can be configured in different ways. Some people like to configure the command squads with heavy weapons as a small heavy weapons team, and some configure the Command squad as an assault squad. As an assault squad it will not have enough grunt to dent most army’s but it could be useful as a counter assault squad if your guards get assaulted.

First Rank fire, 2nd Rank Fire!

This order allows the assigned squad to fire more shots. It only works for lasguns and not heavy weapons. This order will work best when used on large squad. It may be best to use this order with the new ‘Combine’ Imperial Guard special rule.

Move! Move! MOVE!

This allows the selected squad to roll three dice and select the highest when running in the shooting phase. This means the chance of rolling a 6 is 3:6 or 50%. You will roll a 5 or 6, (2/6+2/6+2/6 = 6/6) every try (statistically speaking). Remember that this move ignores difficult terrain!

This works best on squads that you want out of, or in to trouble. Assault troops come to mind first.


Infantry Squad

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Squad

Imperial Guard Infantry Squad

Each Infantry Platoon need at least 2 ten man Infantry Squads.

You can have up to 5 Imperial Guard Infantry Squads per Troops choice, that’s 300 regular Imperial Guard. If that’s not enough, you can top they up with elite and heavy weapon squads!

Imperial Guard Infantry Squad Heavy Weapons and Special Weapons

Upgrading your Infantry Squads with heavy weapons and support weapons is optional. Most players take heavy and special weapons, so why would you not take these upgrades?

There are two main reasons why I might drop the upgrades. The first is the points cost. Dropping the upgrades can release a few extra points that I can use elsewhere. The 2nd is if I want the squad to be mobile. If you are expecting your squad to shield tanks that are on the move ( Tank Dogs) then the Heavy weapons don’t get their chance to fire with full affectiveness. Even then I usually take a special weapon, usually a flamer.

What is the best Special Weapon for an infantry squad?

Well it really depends on the job you are expecting them to do.

For squads with a heavy weapon I usually choose a grenade launcher. These have a 24″ range so they can target anything that your lasguns can. Also grenade launchers can fire frag or Krak like grenades so you can take on squads or light armoured vehicles.

If you expect to get up close to the enemy then a flamer maybe your best option, specially if there is a lot of terrain. It can be surprising how many troops a well placed flamer can take out. Flamers are also good if you are assaulted, The wall of flame rule means that you will always hit one of the assaulting unit (if you get chance to over-watch) .

Heavy Weapon Squads

Warhammer 40k Imperial Team LasCannon Heavy Weapon TeamYou can have up to 4 heavy weapon squads per troop choice, each with three heavy weapons. This means you could have up to 84 heavy weapons, plus any you add to your Infantry Squads and Command squads!

Remember that all the weapons in the heavy weapon squad have to shoot at the same target.

Special Weapon Squad Tactics

Special weapon squads are fairly small (6 man squads) that has three special weapon in it. The codex briefly suggests some tactics for Special weapon squads (page 38). One thing to be aware of is that flamers meltaguns and demolition charges are short range weapon and special weapon squads do not come with frag grenades.

It is usually best to not mix types of weapons in a special weapon squad too much. Short range weapons work well together (flamer, melta’s and demolition charges), or medium range weapons work together (plasma guns and grenade launchers), but mixing a short range weapon with medium ranged or long ranged weapons (sniper rifles), does not work well. As always, if you have a special reason to mix types then that may over-ride this advice.

A sniper-rifle special weapons squad costs the same as a rattling 5 man sniper squad but they are not as good. You only get three sniper rifles, their ballistic skill is not as good, and you do not get the special rules. You do get the chance to have more of them without using up valuable elite choice slots.

Conscript Squad Tactics

You can have up to one conscript squad attached to an infantry platoon. As untrained troops the weapon skill and ballistic skill of a conscript trooper is less than the normal imperial guard. The conscript troops do not have heavy weapons or special weapons option and the do not have transport. What they do get is numbers. A conscript squad can have 20 to 50 conscripts in it, and at 3 points per model that makes for very cheap cannon fodder.

Conscripts have a very low leadership score, however this can be fixed by adding a Commissar,  Lord Commissar, or a Primaris Psyker, as these have leadership score of 9 or 10. What’s more the Commissar (max one per Command Squad) and Primaris Psyker (max 3 per detachment ) do not take up HQ slots so you can have them and still have 2 regular HQ choices in a battle forged army. Also you could take a Ministorum Priest ( max 3 per detachment). Priests have LD7 and cost the same as a Commissar but you get a couple of extra close combat friendly special rules (see HQ section for details). My recommendation would be to add both a Commissar and a Ministorum Priest in the mix and you get a unit that can take and give out a good amount of punishment!

Imperial Guard Veteran Squad Tactics

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Veteran Squad With PriestVeteran Squad’s have moved from an Elite choice to being a troop choice in the 2009 Imperial Guard Codex. This means that you can have an army with your troop choices made completely from Veterans. This in turn means that it is possible to have very small, cheap armies, or to minimise the troop points cost to maximise on heavy support or other ‘beardy’ army configurations.

Veterans have a better Ballistic score that the regular troops. this means that any special and heavy weapons that use the BS will be hitting on 3’s. This will not affect flamer weapons. Note that heavy weapons cost more points that the regular troops heavy weapons, but the special weapons are the same cost. This makes the special weapons good value points wise.

Imperial Guard Veteran squads have much more flexibility with the weapons they take. They can have up to three special weapons, for example. This means that you can adapt them to meet specific roles. If you want Tank busters then arm them with meltaguns and the ‘Demolition’ doctrine. If you want a squad to cleanse forests and buildings, give them plenty of flamers.


Veterans can have Doctrines. Be careful with these as they came make the squads expensive. Make sure that you will use the skills if you pay the points for them.

Veterans with the “Forward Sentries” get camo-cloaks and defensive grenades. Defensive grenades will reduce the number of attacks an assaulting force has against you. To make best use of this, place your veterans where then will take the blunt of any assault (ie on the front line, but behind cover). Camo-cloaks give the squad the ‘Stealth’ special rule This improves any cover saves by 1.